The red-billed quelea is a small weaver bird native to sub-Saharan Africa and renowned for its attacks on small-grain crops within Africa. It is the most numerous bird species in the world. The red-billed quelea is mainly granivorous, except when feeding its chicks insects or when eating insects prior to migration or breeding, and it relies on a supply of grass seeds to survive. When unable to find grass seeds or when opportunities arise, quelea will attack crops such as wheat, millet, oats, sorghum, teff, rice.
It is a major pest throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and can cause significant economical losses.
The bird is inherently nomadic and this nomadism accounts for its invasions into areas where it was previously absent.
- Use of Early Warning System
- Scaring of birds. Wheat farmers have found that stringing aluminium or bright coloured plastic strips that move with the wind across the wheat fields can act as a deterrent to quelea and weaver birds. If this cannot be found others employ young boys with a long rope to patrol the field and snap the rope as a whip whenever the birds try to settle and eat in an area.